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What is Ahimsa?

The lessons on non-harming and the subtle nuances of the basic idea of ahimsa are generally overlooked. Part of the 8-limbed path to developing the spiritual self, this giant of the yamas or "restraints", leads us delicately to the softer side of life. Much more than just the old, 'look at your enemy with loving eyes’ mantra, ahimsa teaches us that we should love ourselves and tread softly on the ground when wearing cleats! Okay, it doesn't say that specifically but, the big idea is to change negative to positive, and that includes thoughts that are harmful to ourselves and others, and the earth as well, since we're at it. There is much to talk about with ahimsa but here is a compilation of thoughts on the subject, and what we at Yoga Mat feel that ahimsa can teach us. Learning to love is natural. In our world today, knowing how to love ourselves is a challenge. Perhaps it's simply a matter of over saturated social media teaching us what we should look or be like and when we don't stack up division arises? Perhaps it goes much deeper and we need to gain back the upper hand and become responsible for our own happiness. We should start with creating our own reality, cultivating love and acceptance of self in all of its glory. In turn, all of which surrounds us will become influenced by that strength instead of the other negative possibilities. Start with self and become re-acquainted with your personality, your thoughts, your loves, your aversions, and master self-study. Don't judge, just witness. Then practice accepting those nuances of self the way you would for a deeply cherished loved one. Drop the negative assimilations we've clung to and used as a crutch due to fear of change. Maybe we don't even know yet, exactly what behavior that is for us, but it will show up as you begin the process of accepting you as you are. Believe in your strengths and your truth of who you are meant to be in this life, and forget to see it in detriment, only see it as a reason to love yourself and your gifts. Find your purpose and run with it, be encouraged by it, and inspired by it. Who are you? What is your heart saying? Being kind to oneself is so difficult because we care so much about others. How can we balance everyone else, -our children, our spouse, our family, coworkers etc., when we aren't caring for ourselves first? We typically look first, into who is taking care of me? Who is helping me? We forget to look in the mirror and start with the person most qualified for the job, OURSELVES! When I feel tired and as if I have used all of my energy, I take a child’s pose, -bents knees, forehead to floor, and I can relax and treat myself as someone in need. I become thankful for the moment I have given to myself to relax and take a quiet moment to heal and be kind to myself. Take a moment. Give yourself some love, even if it's just a breath. Take it in fully and wholly. Be. And, be okay with that. Be kind to your body and it will pay dividends. Love, authenticity, honesty, & integrity comes from looking directly, and courageously deep within at our fears and perceived wrongness. Strive to not look at our outside actions or the thoughts of others to define us, as this perception will mask all that is true about you. Maintaining love of self, through the hard times and through our undesirable actions, is a feat for the strong, just remember that each day is a new day to try harder and each day you must re-wash to stay clean but you don't give up. . . Don't give up. Ahimsa. With Love, Yoga Mat